Tornado damage, Central Florida

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AmtrakWPK

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Early this morning, roughly 2 - 5 am there was severe weather including a lot of tornado damage North of Orlando in Lake, Sumter, and Volusia Counties. Multiple deaths (something like 15-20 so far, I think) and truly devastating damage. Lots of damage in the Deland area. Trains 91/92/97/98 and Auto-Train go through this corridor. Power is out through a lot of this area, and I would expect signals to be down for some time through here, also possibly some damage or debris blocking track - that part I don't have any direct knowledge of, but the news coverage shows a great deal of damage to homes and especially to quite a few mobile home parks. One shot showed a clean concrete pad where there used to be a mobile home. Thank God, that mobile home was apparently vacant. Many regular homes look like a large bomb went off inside them, nothing left but debris, no roof or walls, nothing but debris. Several major roads are closed. On I-4 in Volusia County they had a four-semi plus other vehicles, pileup that started with one semi being picked up and dropped on top of another one. If you are heading for Deland Florida, I would call ahead. (Some of those phone lines are out, however.) At this time, all the local TV stations are running continuous news, no regular programming. This weather system is still (12:30 pm Fri., Feb. 2) generating severe weather around Vero Beach (Southeast of Orlando), Indian River County and St. Lucie County, but the rest of the heavy weather seems to be mostly finished. I hope our members Engine999 and AmtrakOBS Employee are ok - I think they are both in the Volusia County area.
 
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Railbender

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Good question. I was wondering the same. I see on the Train Status area of the Amtrak website that the southbound Silver Star had a service disruption. Both southbound Silver Meteor and Auto Train that began yesterday seemed to arrive without much interruption/delay.

I wonder about that DeLand station after it just got a nice facelift...

Noticed on the CNN website the official death toll is up to 19, also a photo of a flipped tractor trailer on I-4 near DeLand...
 
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Railbender

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The news is not good from DeLand, which appears to be one of the hardest hit communities:

http://www.tallahassee.com/apps/pbcs.dll/a...NGNEWS/70202018

This is our favorite terminating point for the Silver Meteor. My dad stays in Daytona and its an easy drive over to DeLand to meet my family at the station. I will be back down this way in early March.

A couple of years ago we did a timeshare trade for a week on a houseboat on the St. John's River. This is a beautiful, wooded, very preserved area of FL. Great State Park nearby with loads of manatees.

If anyone finds out how the DeLand Amtrak Station fared in this morning's storms, I would like to know...thanks-
 

AmtrakWPK

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Blue Spring State Park was probably the park with manatees that you referenced. Blue Spring is 72F water temp year 'round, so during the winter when the St. John's River temp drops below 72, the manatees swim up into the Park because that water is warmer than the River. You can also SCUBA dive the Spring, but swimming down into the vent is very difficult because the volume of water coming out is so incredibly high.

If I think about it tomorrow, I'll call the Deland Station and see if I can get a report. It's been all over the local news here, all day. Our church is probably going to donate some bags of clothing to a thrift shop in the middle of the devastated area that is giving away clothing for free to victims. The shop owner said she heard the "freight train" going by but it spared her house, so she's trying to help out. Some of those folks have the clothes on their back, and nothing else, their homes were turned into a pile of toothpicks. One guy has what he's wearing and his pillow. He got sucked up out of bed and deposited across the street, with his pillow, and his house was destroyed.
 

battalion51

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Go figure, things seemed pretty business as usual here at Disney, nothing seems to effect us here at the "Happiest place on earth." Amazing what a difference just a few miles makes.
 

had8ley

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My brother-in-law called from Winter Park yesterday (Friday) and said he was going to ride #97 into Miami. Julie said they were only three hours late. Pretty impressive from the amount of destruction that we saw on the TV last night. Surprised they even ran the train. Exactly what time did this storm hit?
 

AmtrakWPK

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Earliest tornado was sometime after 2 am, last one was between 9 and 10 am down on the Southeast coast around the Vero Beach area The worst ones with all the catastrophic destruction through Sumter, Lake and Volusia counties were from about 2:30 am to 6 am. One was reportedly a half mile wide. Most of those folks were asleep. One lady said it woke her up, sounding like a freight train. She's deaf, which gives you an idea of the amount of sound.
 

AmtrakWPK

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I just (9:15 am Saturday Feb 3) spoke to the station agent at Deland Amtrak, and he told me the station and the immediately surrounding area are just fine, no damage.
 

Railbender

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I just (9:15 am Saturday Feb 3) spoke to the station agent at Deland Amtrak, and he told me the station and the immediately surrounding area are just fine, no damage.
Good to hear...thanks. Of course my concern is primarily for the residents and their loss... I was just curious about the station- It'll be interesting to see how FEMA reacts, gets involved, etc....
 
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I hope our members Engine999 and AmtrakOBS Employee are ok - I think they are both in the Volusia County area.
Saw this posting yesterday morning, but didn' t have a chance to respond. CSX keeps me busy these days (which is a good thing)! Anyway, all is well at my place at home here in FL. The storm mostly affected the areas about eight miles South of my area. I drove by the DLD station and all is normal there as previously posted by AmtrakWPK. For now it's time for those who were affected to rebuild and move on, and many of us will most definitely keep these folks in our prayers. OBS...
 
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